Your broadcasting software is an interface that you will spend a lot of time in if you’re a regular streamer.

That is why it’s important to choose one that is easy to use, highly functional and can be set up quickly for each time you stream.

In this review, we will cover OBS vs Streamlabs OBS to evaluate how viable each piece of software is for you and your streaming needs.

We recommend that streamers use Streamlabs due to its built-in functionality and ease of use. It also has the added benefit of being a free software which will lower the costs of your setup. Once you’re all set up and configured you can start streaming in just a couple of minutes everytime that you want to click that ‘Start Streaming’ button.

To review each piece of software we will analyze three main components:

  1. Cost
  2. Ease of setup
  3. Features

What Is Broadcasting Software?

Broadcasting software is a computer program that allows users to record and stream whatever is on their screen.

There are many of them out there and the most famous is probably Open Broadcaster Software). XSplit and Streamlabs are other broadcasting services.

Open Broadcaster Software Studio (OBS)

OBS is a free piece of software that lets you record your computer, broadcast to a streaming platform or both at the same time. It’s not only used for streaming but can be used to record any sort of video that you’re trying to make.

You can download it here.

Cost

OBS is a free piece of software.

Not only is it free but it is open source meaning that they release their code to the public so developers can improve the software.

Ease Of Setup

Once you download the desktop installation file it’s a simple setup process.

Follow the installation instructions which mostly involves allowing the program access to your computer (like any other installation really).

The program then lets you choose whether you want to run an auto-configuration wizard – this will just give you the recommended settings.

OBS can also configure your settings for either streaming or recording.

If you choose to stream you can then modify recording settings such as frame rate and resolution.

The next step will then allow you to select which platform you would like to stream on.

OBS really covers pretty much everything you such as Twitch, YouTube/YouTube Gaming, Facebook Live and about 30 other platforms.

It even allows you to stream to custom streaming servers!

Before you can stream on your account you will need to copy and paste your stream key into the field when setting up. To get your stream key for Twitch:

  • Log in to Twitch and click on your avatar in the top right-hand corner
  • Click ‘Dashboard’
  • Go to ‘Channel’ on the left-hand sidebar
  • There you will see your stream key

To get your stream key for YouTube:

  • Log into your YouTube account
  • Go to ‘My Channel’ from the sidebar on the left
  • Click ‘Video Manager’ at the top
  • Select ‘Live Streaming’ then ‘Stream Now’ from the sidebar
  • Go down to Encoder Setup and hit Reveal to show your stream key

Note: DO NOT SHOW THIS KEY TO ANYONE – if anyone has this key they are able to stream to your account. If this gets into the wrong hands you could lose your account by getting a permanent ban.

A couple more clicks and it’ll finish its setup by testing your bitrate from servers in different countries. You’ll get recommended settings for your setup, it’s really handy.

Once you apply the settings all you need to do is click ‘Start Streaming’ in the bottom right hand corner of the window and you’ll be live.

In order to learn of to add alerts and layouts we recommend you look at this tutorial. It’s not made by us but it is a thorough walkthrough.

If we were to take you through the setup of it we could be here a while…

Features/Performance

OBS doesn’t have many features besides recording and broadcasting.

If you did want to get extra functionality out of it you can always install plugins that OBS provides but there isn’t much of quality here.

There are some free overlays although if you want anything premium it can get expensive. We really like Nerdordie for all the free features that offer that are compatible with OBS – alerts, overlays/scenes, widgets, transitions, Twitch panels, looping backgrounds and more!

If you want to receive donations then you will also have to rely on another service besides OBS. This often means that you’ll be restricted to whatever the streaming service offers.

Twitch offers donation tokens called ‘bits’ which viewers can purchase from Twitch and then ‘cheer’ (their term for donate) them to you. The performance of OBS is okay.

There are a ton of report of it causing huge CPU spikes but that could just be the user’s hardware. It’s an overall simple program to use with not too many extra features which makes it only good for recording or streaming a computer screen.

Streamlabs OBS

Streamlabs is also a free piece of software. Like I noted before,

OBS is open source software. Streamlabs went ahead and took their code, improved it, made it more user-friendly with more features and then released it.

After some time with the software, we can conclude that this is a really solid application that is a one-stop-shop for any streamer.

Cost

Much like OBS, Streamlabs is a free download.

In fact, you can actually make money with Streamlabs by getting an affiliate link once you sign up.

You will receive a $0.50 commission for each person that installs the software through your link.

To make this even better they will donate another $0.50 to a charity of your choice! It’s fair to say Streamlabs wins this one.

Ease Of Setup

The installation process is pretty straightforward. It’s unlike any other really. First download Streamlabs from here.

A downside of this software is that is only compatible with Windows which is annoying if you’re a Mac user but you can easily get around this with Bootcamp.

Once you’ve completed the Windows installation, Streamlabs pre-configures all the setting for you and brings you straight to your dashboard.

That’s it and you’re at the Editor – there’s still a couple more steps.

Now you need to configure the settings to your liking and connect it to your Twitch or YouTube account.

First things first, login to your Twitch or YouTube account through Streamlabs by clicking ‘Login’ in the top right-hand corner.

We recommend to first optimize the program for your bandwidth and hardware configuration. Go to Settings > General > Run Auto Optimizer.

This will ensure everything is configured correctly for your setup.

Next, you need to add your stream key to allow Streamlabs to push your content to the platform. For this click Settings > Stream > and then enter your stream key (see above on how to get your stream key).

Now comes the fun part, themes!

There are dozens of themes to choose from that are 1-click installs.

When you install one of these themes it creates ‘Scenes’ for you which are the different transitions and configurations you see streamers have.

Scenes like the ‘starting soon’ or the face cam and video game are already set up and can be switched between with a few clicks.

That’s it, click ‘Go Live’ in the bottom right-hand corner and you’re streaming!

Features/Performance

The features that are built into Streamlabs is insane. Some of the tools it gives you (remember this is all for free) are widgets, alerts, and layouts. Text-to-speech (TTS) is also inbuilt which seems like its a much-have these days if you’re going to be accepting donations.

You can even customize the media that plays and the type of voice that reads out the messages to you.

We found some themes that came with the entire banquet of widgets including alert box, goals, event list, the jar, donation ticket, chatbox, viewer count and stream boss.

We were blown away that we didn’t have to get any third-party tools, no finicky plugins, no manual dragging files.

It is literally 1-click install and it works perfectly.

Our favorite feature was having the ability to view and moderate the Twitch or YouTube chat within the application itself.

It comes in handy because you won’t need to click back and forth between different windows to see your audience interacting with you.

If you combine this with the in-app alerts, you won’t need to leave Streamlabs for whatever you’re doing.

There are also a couple of features that we’re not sure how useful they will be but doesn’t hurt to have them like face masks – interesting but meh.

As for performance, we have only had positive experiences with it.

The CPU usage has never been out of control and even when playing an AAA title like Rise of the Tomb Raider there was no friction in going between scenes or transitions. We do have a pretty serious rig though so more testing needs to be done with a less spec’d out PC.

Conclusion

Before Streamlabs we had been using the original OBS. After discovering the Streamlabs OBS we can get enough of the easy-to-use functionality.

Everything from inbuilt features to being able to turn on my computer and begin streaming within 30 seconds. It really does make you feel like a pro streamer when you use the same tools as the big streamers like Ninja and DrDisRespect.

It’s really not often that an all-in-one tool like this comes out and is as practically functional as this. You can give both of these broadcasting softwares a go with no risk since they are free.

We’d be happy to hear what broadcasting software you most prefer and do you use another software? What are your thoughts on OBS vs Streamlabs OBS?